THIS is what they think of your “Black History Month”!!!

You ever heard that a picture is worth a thousand words?

Keiry sent me this picture like she randomly does sometimes because her sister had it sent to her from a friend who was just honestly shopping around their local PathMark. I wish this was one of those photo-shopped viral images designed to be texted around and laughed at (it can still be, and very well may be by now), but this is just truly one of those WTF moments captured in still life.

Last year, it was the NBC breakroom menu that was going around the internet, where the catering staff took it upon themselves to feel like they contributed to the legacy of the month by providing a special rundown of “Soul Food” and the Black choice for bottled water, Aquafina (a.k.a., the cheapest). 

It sparked controversy, as everything Black usually does because we are the most sensitive race on the Planet, and of course, outsiders struggled to wrap their heads around how this assumptive gesture could be taken offensively.

What it really comes down to is the question, is this what we are to the rest of the world?? Can we be narrowed down to a 1-note monolithic idea? Is our culture steeped primarily in singing, dancing and food that started out as the most unhealthy scraps that we turned into damn good-tasting delicacies??? Ironically, the same food that because we’ve been living off for decades, has caused us to develop diseases that pass generation-to-generation almost exclusively to us.

As a Black Man who has never been a fan of what I call “Slave-Food”, I can’t deny that this cuisine is indeed a testament to Black genius and our ability to make marvels out of morsels, or something from nothing, but I refuse to be defined by it when we’ve done soooo much else as a people. And If we’re speaking strictly within the realm of food, why not peanuts? Why not Red Velvet Cake? Foods that we undeniably have added to that are not stigmatized? There’s so many different kinds of “Black”. Then I must remember that excluding our African and Carribean counterparts, the history of the American Black is a very limited one…One that begins with slavery. So maybe this is our foundation. Scary isn’t it?

I understand why other races could be confused as to why something that seems like a good-natured effort to recognize the history of an ethnic group could be taken with such malice, but these implications speak volumes without saying much.

Next time the need is felt to put a sticker on something to celebrate Black History Month, how about a Traffic Light?? That‘ll be the day…

Jay-Z video controversy Addressed, but questions remain…

Shout out to the boy Mike Gordon for hitting me with this in response to last week’s post about whether or not I should join the whole Jay-Z imagery controversy.

As a platform for enlightened conversation and debate sparking, I try to steer clear of gossip on average on this blog unless it’s utterly unavoidable, or happens to careen into my lane. Trust me, there have been times when I wanted to. I had the itch to today, I was strongly tempted by something that may have ruffled some feathers of folks that I know…then I remembered why I do this.

So I wondered if I should’ve posted that whole Jay Video thing last week at all because the subject is so dead now, but I knew my boys Mos and Marv would have something to say and I awaited their response. I really wanted Mos’ point of view, being that this topic is one that he brought up waaaayyy before. His point was one not so muc about who’s a member of what, but who’s controlling who sees what and thru which mediums and Personalities. I get it. I definitely don’t think they’re letting us into their lodges and secret tunnels anytime soon.

However, this week showed the first response from Jay and company, and Mike was kind enough to take things one step further by sending me this link to a posting about an interview with the Director of “On To The Next One”, Sam Brown. http://hiphopwired.com/2010/01/13/“on-to-the-next-one”-director-explains-video/

Here’s what I found to be the most interesting quotes from that;

“For those interested, the idea is actually about a funeral for old imagery and ideas, hence all the gothic and oppressive stuff. I was also trying to contradict the excess of hip-hop videos by making something brutally simple and claustrophobic.”

“There is imagery in this video that is drawn from all over the place. None of it is owned by any one culture or belief system. You can connect anything if you try hard enough, and make it mean anything you want it to.”

And that, was the very point that I was making about the dangers of over-analyzing. Now of course, we can start saying it’s the director who’s into that stuff, not Jay, but everything seems like one big Fuckery-fest at this point.

How about the words from Jay himself??, who I expected to brush things off with a dry laugh and joke just as he did… But yet and still, he hints at the same thing I said about when did the rules change??

http://gossiponthis.com/2010/01/13/jay-z-denies-devil-worshiping-and-illuminati-ties-in-angie-martinez-interview/

And while we’re at it, I just remembered this Dope or should I say ‘abstract’ video from ’97 off of the Soul Assassins album in the era where money and thought was actually being thrown into Hip Hop videos shot-by-shot. Does anyone remember this? Does this mean that Dr. Dre and Cypress Hill are down with the conspiracy too?

oooohhhh…..